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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sneaking around Mt. Kapayas (Lantawan or Torre Peak)


This is the highest point in Mt. Kapayas' Peak
When I got an invitation for this climb, I easily agreed without hesitation since Mt. Kapayas in Catmon Cebu is not a simple climb that can be done with just a group of friends since one needs to get a permit and a guide recognized by the LGU in order to ascend it. Mt. Kapayas is also known as Lantawan Peak or Torre Peak because the highest point of Mt. Kapayas is made of limestone rocks which also resembles the peak of Mt. Mauyog in barangay Tabunan, Balamban.

Tip: Don't Look Down :)
Mt. Kapayas is 50 kilometers north of Cebu City, located in Sitio Kampanya, Barangay Kabangkaya in the bowels of Catmon, Northern Cebu. Rising at 783 MASL and sheltering a couple of mountain villages that have yet to receive the full benefits of modern civilization and add to that some roaming "Nice People Around," this makes the Kapayas Trail or Peak to be less preferred by outdoor groups and enthusiasts.


For safety purposes, it is best and ideal to have get the services of a guide, reserve and get a permit, pay for it then register at the Police Station/municipal hall before climbing Mt. Kapayas. We left the city (North Bus Terminal) around six or seven in the morning and reached the Catmon Municipal Hall after an hour and a half travel.

Interesting landscape view while riding our vehicle
While we’re in the town proper, we bought our packed lunch and replenished our water supply before proceeding to the jump-off point which was a lot of bumps and dust that took another hour or two due to the very rough road. would take us approximately an hour more of travel because of its rough road.

Getting to the jump off point alone is quite the challenge for any vehicle (which is why very few habal-habal drivers will take climbers there unless you are willing to pay for the pricey fees); although the guide usually arranges for multi-cabs/van, we rode a modified elf-type truck and yet even the road was merciless towards it.

Our cool Jump off area where we had to finalize our gear-weight distribution, a quick orientation, GTKY and a prayer
There are steep curves and sometimes twists that at times make it a slow roller coaster ride; and add to that certain areas that are literally "on the edge" of a cliff plus some natural dust to keep you company. The ending? Our transportation suffered a flat tire around Barangay Agsuwao I think before heading to the actual jump-off point.

We passed by and through a lot of these from our vehicle and on foot
The first leg of the trail towards Mt. Kapayas’s summit is open and fully exposed to the sun. The main “obstacle” is exposure to the elements, the heat of the sun which can probably cause heatstroke. If I were to compare the trail towards Kapayas, it is a combination of open and rolling hills trail similar to Alegria's Lanaya with few shaded areas and a lot of rolling hills.


Assaulting under these conditions is really difficult so you have to find some fun things to do like: selfies, groufies, taking photos of cute animals along the way (Goats, Chicken, Horses, Cows) or even that of plant life like flowers, lilies and even fruits like what those two (above) are doing! Hahah

Do you see that mountain range? That's not our destination, Mt. Kapayas is still on the other side of that!
At 12noon, the sun was merciless so we had to take a stop, eat lunch, drink water and I even took a nap
The second half (which was assaulting towards the peak) was still a bit exposed to the sun but this time, there is more shaded areas and eventually entering a relatively thick jungle like trail with the occasional cold breeze.

This is a hourse that was near our camp site so we left our bags here before attacking the summit to lessen our burden

From there, more rolling hills and beautiful landscapes such as this!
They say the best part of the Mt. Kapayas climb will start at the base of Torre’s cliff-base. To access the summit, we needed to free solo (i.e., climb without ropes) a 15- to 20-foot rock face that serves as a gateway to a passage that leads to the summit. Yes, it involves rock climbing up a vertical rock face! This is a unique obstacle of Kapayas compared to most mountains in Cebu. After safely passing the “Kiss the Wall” section, you simply follow the rocky passage to reach the Torre.

This is at the cliff base where the plant life is really thick and the breeze cold as well

Above is the spot before the "kiss the wall" portion, of course I could not take a photo or proper selfie since I needed all my limbs in order to not fall from the cliff face.

This is the reward-view that meets you when you reach the top!
Navigating the peak for that 'perfect shot' is also not that easy
One of our "Group Photos" since it is a bit crowded and we just could not have everyone in one particular area I guess
Some shots are worth the Risks I guess; Our guide staring down the cliff
From the base camp, it took us less than an hour to reach the summit. It was already around 4pm when we arrived at the peak. After admiring the view and taking some pictures, we took a straightforward descent back to the base camp

This beautiful sunset greeted us as we were heading down the summit

We barely made it with the remaining light of the day and that signals the time for Silhouettes!!
I was pretty sure we snuck into the place since according to our guide, we tried new route on our trek until we set-up camp at night because someone got drunk and made a lot of noise; luckily the "Nice People Around" didn't do anything.

Good Morning from our Camp site!
Going to Mt. Kapayas in Catmon:

  • There are buses at the North Bus Terminal that passes Catmon on a daily basis. Fare should be PHP70 and drop-off point would be at the Catmon Municipal Hall. 
  • Get the services of a recognized guide in the area: Kyno Dumlao (09993259621), pay and get permits as well (Transportation from the Catmon proper to the jump-off point was provided by the municipality of Catmon through the permit) - The budget for a Mt. Kapayas day trek is relatively high;
This is by far one of the most interesting trail and trekking experience I've had so far! Check out the video summary I made below!:

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